Top-100 Thrillers

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top-100 in crime fiction

1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

Thomas Harris (1998) The Silence of the Lambs.

Hanibal Lecter, a brilliant psychopath whose nickname is "The Cannibal" because he likes to eat parts of his victims, helps FBI trainee Clarice Starling to get into the mind of a serial killer and hunt him down. Made into a terrifying film - starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.

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Patricia Highsmith (1988) Those Who Walk Away. (First published 1967)

Gloomy wintertime Venice: Ray, an American traveling in Europe, has lost his wife to suicide. Ed, his father-in-law, blames Ray for his daughter's death and tries to kill him. But Ray survives and follows Ed to places all over Venice trying to explain his wife's suicide to the outraged father - seemingly unaware of Ed's unforgiving hate.

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Tami Hoag (2006) Prior Bad Acts.

The story starts in a courtroom but quickly explodes into a fast-paced investigation for rescuing judge Carey Moore, who is attacked for her unpopular decision to throw out evidence from a case. This is a first-rate legal thriller with complex characters and erotic twists.

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P. D. James (2001) The Black Tower. (First published in 1975)

James' deeply bleak novel is set in an isolated home for patients with a fatal muscular disease. The home's elderly chaplain invites Adam Dalgliesh asking for help. But when Dalgliesh arrives, the chaplain has died. As Commander Danlgliesh begins to investigate, more murder victims keep piling up.

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P. D. James (2001) Innocent Blood

Essential reading from a very smart lady. A crime novel at the peak of the art. (The London Times) James was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2008.

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Herman Koch (2013) The Dinner.

A very fashionable restaurant in the eastern part of Amsterdam: two brothers and their wives meet for dinner. The conversation is cultured and polite. But then it gradually morphs into a nasty hell ride as they begin to talk about their teenage sons - who are apparently homicidal psychopaths.

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John Le Carré (2004) Absolute Friends.

LeCarré is mad about what he sees as a fraudulent and unnecessary war in Iraq. The hero in his up-to-date novel, Ted Mundy, is an idealistic out-of-business spy from the Cold War era. He is hired by a mysterious benefactor to counter the widespread propaganda on behalf of an Iraqi war. Even if you don't like LeCarré's political slant, his writing is first class.

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Dennis Lehane (2013) Live by Night: A Novel.

This is the second in a planned trilogy of stories exploring the early part of the 20th century. Joe Coughlin, a cop's son turned mobster, starts his career as petty criminal in Boston. During prohibition he rises to rule a criminal empire in Tampa. Masterful historical fiction, but lacking the thrill-level of "Mystic River" or "Gone Baby Gone".

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Henning Mankell (2003) Firewall.

The book starts with random, seemingly unrelated acts of violence in the town of Ystad, southern Sweden. But slowly Wallander detects that these small-town murders are part of a conspiracy in cyber terrorism targeted to collapse the world's financial system.

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Henning Mankell (2007) The Man Who Smiled.

Kurt Wallander of the Ystad Police Force reluctantly investigates the death of an aging attorney on a desolate road, initially considered an accident. Depressed and in danger of becoming an alcoholic, Walander, stoically battles through the complexities of the crime and his own life. A realistic alternative to the smooth action thrillers, this dark tale slowly turns into a horrific nightmare.

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